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Re: [new_distillers] Which Still to build

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  • John Vandermeulen
    Hi, I have sent your query on to Tony Ackland, moderator of this list as he is far more knowledgeable in that area. John V ... -- ÿWPC5
    Message 1 of 16 , Apr 3 9:02 AM
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      Hi, I have sent your query on to Tony Ackland, moderator of this list as he is
      far more knowledgeable in that area.
      John V

      B13013ob@... wrote:

      > vandermeulen@... writes:
      >
      > << I sketched out a design, that has a ~24"x2" column, ~18" lyne arm, and 18"
      > jacket condenser - passed it around on this list for comments. Tony A.
      > thought that it should work, as did others. I ran it a week ago and right off
      > got ~80%abv product!! Way too high for what I wanted. I suspect that the
      > column is far too long - so I am shortening it to maybe 12" and will try
      > again. >>
      >
      > Howdy John! ....which brings me to more questions --- it seems that
      > almost all of the folks in this group use electricity and are stuck with 1 or
      > 2 choices as to heat output for the boiler. Since the heat used for the
      > reflux is less, aiming for purity, might it not be enough to maximize vapor
      > production to get the "Flavors" over the top? I use a big gas burner (for
      > boiling crab and lobster) under my boiler. With the infinite heat range (to
      > maximum, of course), might that push more vapor? The pic you attached used
      > fire, for instance.
      > As to fire vs electricity, why is the latter chosen over gas? Is it a
      > safety issue or a matter of convenience? I use very little LP gas in aiming
      > for 95% since the only vapor sought is Ethanol and the water runs only enough
      > to cool the vapor and equalize the reflux (2L water / min.). I must be
      > living on the edge or something, but the fire extinguisher is always close
      > by...
      > Thanks for the reply...please don't think you're "ranting"! I can't get
      > enough information and sometimes the pearl in buried in the meat. More is
      > good....bob....
      >
      >
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      >
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      --
      ÿWPC5
    • mattdistiller
      ... good one - ... written about ... going for it by ... and 18 jacket ... thought that it ... John and others, This conversation kind of ties in with a
      Message 2 of 16 , Apr 3 6:51 PM
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        > sorry, for not getting back to you immediately. Your question is a
        good one -
        > why not convert refrlux column to pot still? There is almost zero
        written about
        > pot-still design, either from experience or theoretical. So I am
        going for it by
        > trial and error.
        > I sketched out a design, that has a ~24"x2" column, ~18" lyne arm,
        and 18" jacket
        > condenser - passed it around on this list for comments. Tony A.
        thought that it
        > should work, as did others.

        John and others,

        This conversation kind of ties in with a project I currently have on
        the go. I have been playing with a hybrid still design for a while
        now, in which you get a pot still and a n/s still in one. I posted
        the drawings here a while ago:

        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/new_distillers/files/mattdistiller/potst
        illdesign.jpg

        Because I want to be able to make rum's and whiskey's, I think a pot
        still is the way to go for this. However, I am not happy with
        the "traditional" design, so have come up with my own design
        (well I think its my own!), which converts a nixon stone still into
        a "Hybrid Nixon stone/Pot Still".

        On the diagram, you can see at the far left, a rough drawing of my
        current N/S still. The boiler is 60L, with a 2" BSP fitting on the
        top. To this the column gets screwed on, which also has 2" BSP
        fittings either end. The Nixon Stone head then screws on the top of
        the column, by way of another 2" BSP fitting.

        Next to this diagram, you can see my proposed design for my hybrid
        still. It utilises the boiler and n/s head of my current setup, but
        the column is removed. In its place, there is a T-junction screwed
        to the boiler. At the top of the T, a 2" ball/gate valve is screwed,
        followed by a either a shorter column (around 500mm I plan) or my
        standard column, and then the N/S head on top. Out of the horizontal
        section of the T, a 3/4" ball/gate valve is screwed, from which the
        3/4" pot still arm goes to the thumper, and then onto a water jacket
        condenser.

        The way I plan to have it working is:
        a) 2" valve open, 3/4" valve shut - This runs it in 'short column N/S
        Still' mode. The column is packed with scrubbers (as usual!). This
        is how the run starts, and after equilibrium, the heads are removed
        from the N/S head. A further 100 - 500mL are removed, in order to
        get rid of any other 'nasties'.
        b) The Still gets turned off, and once the head temp has gone down to
        around 30-40 degrees, the 3/4" valve then gets opened, and the 2"
        shut.
        c) The power gets turned back on, (probably with a decrease in heat
        power). This then runs it in 'pot still mode', with the lower purity
        distillate coming out as normal from a pot still.

        I see this as an advantage, as I can be sure that any methanols and
        other nasties are removed, while still having the benefits of a pot
        still for flavour profile.

        I planned to have this up and running ages ago, but have been too
        busy - hopefully sometime soon though! I'm still collecting bits,
        and redesigning it, so any input would still be gladly taken!

        Matt
      • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
        ... By now you should know that that doesn t count as a guarantee... Tony A.
        Message 3 of 16 , Apr 4 12:28 PM
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          > .. Tony A. thought that it should work ...

          By now you should know that that doesn't count as a guarantee...

          Tony A.
        • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
          Bob, ... Not necessarily so - you still want the same amount of heat & vapour, its just that you then go and return say 80-90% of the vapour back to the column
          Message 4 of 16 , Apr 4 12:51 PM
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            Bob,

            > Since the heat used for the
            > reflux is less, aiming for purity ...

            Not necessarily so - you still want the same amount of heat & vapour, its
            just that you then go and return say 80-90% of the vapour back to the column
            as reflux. My choice is always to maximise the amount of heat input to suit
            the column diameter (a method which has its critics). Only in cases where
            the amount of reflux cooling is fixed would you necessarily decrease the
            heat input to get the greater purity / higher reflux ratio

            > might it not be enough to maximize vapor
            > production to get the "Flavors" over the top?

            thats basically the same method as in the "making corn whisky" book by Ian
            Smiley - reduce the amount of reflux, so that more flavours do come through.
            Its all about adjusting the ratio of reflux to vapour to get the purity you
            want. Since its a reflux, you can do it either way - decrease the reflux,
            or increase the vapour rate.

            > As to fire vs electricity, why is the latter chosen over
            > gas? Is it a safety issue or a matter of convenience?

            for me electricity is convienient. Gas is perfectly fine to use, provided
            you follow safety guidelines, like those of Davids at
            http://homedistiller.org/concept.htm

            Tony
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